iceland part two - the midnight sun

8/15/2012

midnight moon
me sitting in reykjavik

Our first day in Iceland was partly spent in Reykjavík and partly on the road. Although there are infinite things to do and see, most people find themselves visiting Þingvellir (national park), Gullfoss and Strokkur at the very least, since they are relatively close to the city. We decided to see them at "night", which in summer is essentially dawn, because the crowds are much too big during the day. We left at 7pm, but stopped at the Laxnes Horse Farm for a few hours before our journey. I had never ridden a horse before so it was quite interesting!

siguros

Photo on the wall of Laxnes Farm. Sigur Rós approved!

iceland!
donald and horse

Donald loved his horse named Saga; he pet her mane and let her to eat flowers often. He was quite comfortable handling his horse, as opposed to me, who had far too much trepidation. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the calm moments when we just rode along streams at a slow pace. The scenery was incredible (understatement) and became even more so, as we left for our drive through the roads.

sheep in field
wild horses farther

Every summer, Icelandic horses are let out into the wild by their owners. We saw so many running throughout the landscape!

flowers at gulfoss
wild horses closer
gulfoss

We reached Gullfoss at 10pm. I've seen Niagara Falls before, but this seemed so much more immaculate (there's a person on the bottom-right for scale) perhaps because of the surroundings and because it was empty. Donald and I walked onto an overhanging rock, and got drenched in waterfall mist. It was freezing, so we ran quickly to escape and laughed all the way back. It's our favorite memory of the trip ♥

geysir
close up geysir puddle
litli geysir

I'd seen images like this before, but seeing hot water bubble and spew is strange when it's right in front of you. It smells like eggs too!

midnight sunset
the view of springs through window

We rode back on a bus to Reykjavík, and saw the most beautiful earth formations that my eyes will ever see; massive smoke piles from natural springs, volcanoes, and the midnight sun setting. My favorite memories in life often involve car rides, train rides, or any place that I can look out a window, and take in the sights while listening to music. I hadn't listened to Viðrar vel til loftárása by Sigur Rós in years, because it's too moving. It all converged in one car ride and it's safe to say that something changed in me, and in us, after that day x



Sigur Rós - Viðrar vel til loftárása

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30 comments

  1. you have chosen to end the post with probably one of my favourite Sigur Ros's songs ever! :-)
    thank you for sharing these magnificent photographs, Valerie!

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    1. Thanks Polly for the sweet words :) I'm glad that you like that song as well, it's so wonderful x

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  2. Incredible! Iceland looks like a magical place! Your photos are beautiful.

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    1. It's magical indeed. Even though some parts of Iceland reminded me of Utah (some landscape similarities) I kept thinking how unique it all was. We actually saw where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates diverge which was fascinating! x

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  3. Wow. Wow. Wow. I need to see that with my own eyes, it looks so magical and wonderful and incredible and all of those are understatements too. You have captured the landscape and atmosphere so well. - Now I need to relisten all of Sigur Rós's songs because I haven't in such a long time and it's wonderful. Thank you for sharing!!

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    1. Thank you Louise! I hadn't heard Sigur Rós in years either, because I usually associate it with such a specific time in my youth (14-15) when I was quite angsty haha! I felt the same way too forever about needing to see it to believe it. There' still so much more to explore in Iceland too! :)

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  4. I've been riding horses when I was a little bit younger (I haven't for a few years now), but I love the idea to ride horses in Iceland. I want to do that, too!

    Have a great day!

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    1. How cool to have ridden horses in your youth! I actually never wanted to ride them because I was scared of their size. Then I heard all about Icelandic horses being "small" so I thought it'd be similar to a pony riding (hah silly me). They were so big and even their "slow trot" was too fast for me. Haha I was so out of my element! I felt like a total city girl in that moment. x

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  5. I've wanted to experience sunlight-during-nighttime for ages! I imagine it would be the weirdest feeling. This landscape looks so amazing, it's definitely something I need to see with my own eyes one day.

    I love the idea of wild horses but I think I would be afraid of them, haha!

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    1. Haha I'm afraid of riding horses (even though I did it, I would never do it again eek) so I understand. The horses in Iceland are quite calm because they're allowed to roam during the summers. They tend to have a better relationship with their owners, and seeing them run in the wild is just the most amazing thing ever. I teared up a few times because they were so inspiring. You can probably tell that Iceland turned me into a sap at times hee x

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  6. these photos are just beautiful. i can't believe they were taken in the middle of the night! the scenery must have been just breathtaking, i definitely need to visit iceland one day!

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    1. For the entire two weeks that I was in Scandinavia, I lost all sense of what "night" was. I never saw darkness! Luckily our room was super dark when we had to sleep otherwise I would have been an insomniac. It's such a great place to visit and impossible to dislike!

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  7. I can't stress enough how beautiful these photos are/Iceland is. I'm honestly at a loss for words. Your photos remind me - with the fear of sounding like L. Armstrong- what a wonderful world we all live in. And how much of the world I long to see!
    I have the WORST "luck" with horses- I guess they sense my fear/overall uneasiness and go crazy/take advantage of me... Sounds like you had a wonderful time, though.
    [On a side-note: I never "got into" or understood Sigur Ros, but having seen these pictures and listened to the song you posted... *sigh* ]
    -Okay, no more babbling! :)

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    1. Aw what a sweet comment Mariana! You should give Sigur Ros a chance, their earlier stuff is impossible to dislike (at least I think so) because it's so moving! It's funny because I always feel like I can't capture some of these places well enough. It looks so two dimensional to me sometimes because I experienced it in such a different way. That's the challenge I guess with photography heh. Big cities are nearly all the same and it gets so boring after awhile, so I prefer to set my sights on something that's outside of my comprehension :)

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  8. I can't imagine a day as beautiful as this. The last sentence of your post was so nice - like something from a novel. I think it's incredibly romantic that the horses run wild during summer. I've ridden a horse before once, but was quite nervous as well. And I've gotten caught once in the pouring rain with Jimmy, it was so fun and certainly a favorite memory of mine. There's nothing like running through the pouring rain with your love, laughing and splashing around. And that song is beautiful! Definitely moving. I've added it to my August Favorites playlist :)

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    1. Yay! Your other summer playlist was so lovely, Emily. And it's sweet that you share a similar memory with your boyfriend. Usually I get cranky when my hair gets wet (because my hair is naturally very thick and curly) but in Iceland I let go of all worries. I had never imagined a day as beautiful as that either. By the end of the night I felt like I was on a high because it was too surreal. We saw a lot more that's not even pictured (more springs, baby lambs, other big waterfalls) and we met the nicest old man that reminded me of Werner Herzog haha x

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  9. how beautiful!!! these landscapes are just so magical. haha your favorite memory of the trip is the cutest <3 I'm actually seeing sigur rós next friday at rock en seine, yay! o/
    my classes start in two weeks too, but I've been on vacation since may! hah XD I'm really not used to it, I guess.
    I know, right! Seductive Man is the best painting ever. I might go back to the museum and steal it haha XD

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    1. Awesome! Every time I saw them live my mind blew up (except coachella because it was absurdly hot). Your vacation sounds like my dream. Mine began in June but I've been so nonstop busy with family things, that I feel like I need another summer haha. If I could have taken paintings from museums that I liked over the years, my house would be full of sad looking girls and a bunch of pets! :D

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  10. Beautiful photos! I would love to go to Iceland one day. I am a new follower :)

    Laura
    www.whitewintersblog.com

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    1. Hello, and thank you! I'll mutually follow you as well x

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  11. insanely beautiful, val!!! you are so lucky and blessed. Im so happy for you. i wish i could be at a place as beautiful like that <3

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    1. Thank you Sue, I wish I could still be there! I'm in hot smoggy Los Angeles though haha. I do feel very fortuitous to have been there <3

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  12. amazing photographs! A friend of mine just visited there too! It looks so surreal and magical!
    best love!
    xxxx
    alexa
    naivebones.blogspot.com

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    1. That's lovely! I feel like I've seen so many people go to Iceland on the internet-world, but I hardly ever meet other people in "real-life" that have. Hopefully that doesn't change so that the landscape remains untouched :)

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  13. I think Icaland has to be a good option for holidays. A friend of mine was studying in Reykjavík for one year and well, he sais he had never seen something like that before. The island always makes me think about the lands of a fairytale, and you totally catched that feeling in your pictures >3

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  14. Oh wow, those pictures are adorable so this place is <3
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/CoeursDeFoxes

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  15. Ahh, you're making me miss horses so much! I haven't been able to ride in over a year now, but I used to do hunter/jumper stuff [rarely over two feet though].

    For such a small place, it amuses me how many musicians come from Iceland. Sigur Ros, Seabear [and Soley], Of Monsters and Men, Emiliana Torrini, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Bjork... I love Sigur Ros.

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  16. I wish I could have seen you two on those horses! Priceless. Haha. Good thing you held on tight. I wonder how often Sigur Ros ride those horses and if Jonsi sings when he's riding. Haha I wish!

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